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Breaking News: Hawaii Federal District Court Converts TRO Against New Travel Suspension Executive Order to a Preliminary Injunction; Administration Appeals Ruling

Marc D. Katz, Isabel Crosby and Jayde Ashford Brown
April 4, 2017

As detailed in our previous alert on this issue, on March 15, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii temporarily enjoined Sections 2 and 6 of the “Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” issued on March 6, 2017, (the “new E.O.”). On March 21, 2017, the State of Hawaii filed a “Motion to Convert Temporary Restraining Order to a Preliminary Injunction.”

The United States District Court for Hawaii Granted the State of Hawaii’s Motion

On March 29, 2017, the District Court of Hawaii issued an order granting the state of Hawaii’s Motion, effectively converting the previously issued nationwide restraining order into an indefinite block on the 90-day and 120-day travel suspensions under the new E.O.

The court determined that:

  1. plaintiffs met their burden of establishing a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim;
  2. irreparable injury would be likely if the court were not to issue the requested relief; and
  3. the balance of the equities and public interest favored converting the temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction.

United States District Judge Derrick Watson, who decided the matter, stated that there was no reason to disturb the court’s prior determination because the parties did not submit any new evidence contradicting the purpose of the new E.O. as previously identified by the court.

The Ninth Circuit will Review the District Court of Hawaii Rulings

On March 30, 2017, the United States Government filed a Notice of Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which the Government appealed the District Court of Hawaii’s March 29, 2017 order indefinitely blocking the travel suspensions under the new E.O. and all prior orders and decisions that merged into that Order.

This matter continues to evolve. The Andrews Kurth Kenyon Labor & Employment team will continue to monitor judicial review of the new E.O. and issue additional updates as warranted.


For questions and additional information, including assistance with compliance issues or details about our training offerings, please contact one of our Labor & Employment Section Attorneys.

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